SUGAR industry stakeholders have agreed to bring forward the second cane payment for Lautoka and Rarawai which was initially scheduled for five weeks after the closure of both mills.
The decision was made in light of the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Evan to cane farmers plantations and properties in Lautoka and Ba.
"We made this decision at a stakeholders meeting held at Sugar House on Thursday," said sugar permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi.
"While the payment was initially scheduled for around January 20 as per the Sugar Master Award, we made a decision to make the payment early to bring some relief to growers who were very adversely affected."
Lt-Col Vaniqi said the payment of $10.20 a tonne would be made in early January immediately after the festive season.
"We have also agreed for a special payment to all cane growers of $4 per tonne at a date to be announced later. This will be made to all cane growers who harvested and supplied cane in the 2012 season."
Acting Cane Growers Council chief executive officer Sundresh Chetty said the announcement by the ministry was welcomed by the farmers.
"Bringing the cane payment forward for Lautoka and Rarawai will ease the burden on growers affected by the cyclone and the special cane payment next year of $4 a tonne will help cane farming communities' preparations for the 2013 school year," he said.